Regional, OTR, or Vocational Trucking: What’s Right for You

By Allstate Peterbilt Group | Posted in Buying Advice, Driver Info on Friday, September 7th, 2018 at 3:22 pm
Three types of trucking - Regional Over the Road Vocational Trucks

Regional, OTR, or Vocational Trucking: What’s Right for You

Truck driving is a popular occupation and it’s important to weigh your options and find what the best fit is for you. There are three main types of trucking:

  1. REGIONAL – This typically involves day trips – often a maximum of one or two nights out. A driver may run areas anywhere from a few city/counties to a few states.
  2. OVER THE ROAD (OTR) – A long-haul otr driver can spend weeks at a time on the road, with coast-to-coast loads.
  3. VOCATIONAL – Vocational drives take care of specific jobs or tasks. This category includes anywhere from dump trucks, end-dumps & side-dumps, belly dumps, refuse (garbage trucks and roll-offs), concrete trucks, service trucks, rail trucks- and the list goes on. These types of rigs are often found in construction sites, oil fields, landfills, and more.

Now let’s break down the pros and cons of these three types of trucking so you know just what you have in-store.

Regional Pros:

When you go the regional route, especially if you land a dedicated haul, you become familiar with the roads in the region you run and can begin to know your area like the back of you hand; finding the most efficient routes possible. Plus you may get to know the people at the docks after going to the same places You’ll also know exactly when and where you will be delivering to, helping you to plan home time with family and friends, stress-free.r

Regional Cons:

With regional trucking, you have short mile runs that often require extra stop-offs. Another downside boredom with the region due to repetitive routes.

Over-The-Road Pros:

Over-The-Road trucking is a great option if you want to see more of the country, as runs that may take you to the other side of the country and possibly even Mexico or Canada. Due to the longer hauls, you spend less time spent at docks and more time turning miles.

With OTR drives, there are also IRS deductions. You can claim  meals, maintenance, and hotel stays, which will help you recoup some of your expenses.

With today’s fuel prices, the closer your drive between home and the terminal, the more you’ll save. There is also the possibility of having restarts conveniently from your home. These positions are often easier to get into and provide valuable longer distance trucking experiences.

Over-The-Road Cons:

If you are a creature of habit, OTR drives might not be the best option for you since you will not always know where your runs will take you. There can also be delivery deadlines on many of your loads, so you may not have time to “stop and smell the roses.” You also won’t always know when you’ll see home next.

However, it is important to note that OTR trucking means a very independent lifestyle, since you will be on the road for very long stretches of time.

Vocational Pros:

With vocational trucking, you have an opportunity to make more money because the job requires your presence in tougher working conditions. You won’t have to be concerned with spending a lot of time loading and unloading, since the loads are in bulk and don’t require a dock to load or unload. You are driving short and often city routes from the loading to the unloading point.

On a personal level, you can spend more time with your family. Not many other truck drivers can enjoy the convenience of his or her home. There is also a higher likelihood of having weekends off! You also have a bit more job security because there is always a demand for dump truck drivers. Finally, you may benefit from the feeling of accomplishment after being a part of a building process.

Vocational Cons:

The tougher working environment and long hours can be harder on your equipment and your body. Due to the increase of liability, more experience is often needed. The equipment is often more expensive than Regional or OTR because it is built to handle the job, so vocational trucks can cost a bit more up front. The vocational market is also a niche market. Once you select your role and purchase the truck, you are somewhat locked into that specific type of work. It’s worth also weighing in the fact that some vocational work is seasonal and you will most likely not work during the winter in the northern climates unless you find the right “hauls”.

At the end of the day, which of the three types of trucking you choose is a matter of personal preference. Once you determine what you are really looking for and what you may be willing to sacrifice, Allstate Peterbilt can help with the first step, acquiring a truck. We carry top brands like Kenworth, Peterbilt, and more!

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